LATE Deputy Health Minister Molefi Paul Sefularo was given a hero's farewell in an inexpensive wooden coffin made of pine, draped in the country's flag.
Sefularo, 52, died in a car accident near the Kalafong Hospital in Pretoria last Monday. He was buried at the Hartebeespoort Cemetery after a service at the University of Limpopo's Medunsa campus in GaRankuwa on Saturday.
Family and friends paid moving homage to the man, describing him as a family man, role model and a humble leader. He was also credited with bringing many changes to the Department of Health.
Practically all members of the cabinet attended the funeral. Dignitaries included senior government officials such as provincial members of the executive, academics and the first lady Thobeka Madiba-Zuma.
There were no readings from the Bible and only silent prayers conducted by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa. Motsoaledi told mourners that it was how his late deputy, "a true African communist", would have wanted the service to be conducted.
He told mourners that Sefularo had always wanted to be buried in the cheapest coffin.
His widow Kgomotso and children Bonolo, Chere, Masechaba and Ipeleng, as well as his inlaws, also paid tribute to him.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlhanthe encouraged the family to remain strong and diligent.
He said Sefularo was an academic giant and competent minister who led from behind the scenes.
The service ended on a high note when Reverend "McGyver" Mphatsoe said Sefularo used to say "when I am dead, preach what I was preaching".
He then asked his colleagues for forgiveness because he was not going to read from the Bible but from the communists' book.
The sports centre came alive as he started singing communist struggle songs.
Mphatsoe jokingly said people were not aware that in heaven there were divisions, adding that Sefularo would join the likes of late SACP leader Chris Hani, who was assassinated in April 1993.